New York Post
February 23, 2000


I WASN'T EVEN IN THE STATION HOUSE, SCHWARZ TELLS JURY

By MAGGIE HABERMAN

Bruder  
TRYING TIME: Thomas Bruder (left) and Thomas Wiese, leaving the courthouse, heard co-defendant Charles Schwarz say he's innocent. - N.Y. Post: Bolivar Arellano  

Convicted torture cop Charles Schwarz told a Brooklyn federal jury yesterday he knew nothing about the attack on Abner Louima -- insisting he wasn't even in the station house during the bathroom brutality.

It was the first time Schwarz has accounted for his whereabouts during the early morning hours of Aug. 9, 1997, while Officer Justin Volpe was sodomizing Louima with a broken broomstick in the 70th Precinct station house.

Schwarz, who faces life in prison on his conviction for holding down Louima during the assault, also said his arrest for the attack "was one of the worst moments of my life."

With the packed courtroom hushed as he spoke, a nervous but steady Schwarz said he stayed at the front desk while another cop walked Louima toward the bathroom at the back of the station house.

"I think it was [Schwarz' partner] Tommy Wiese," Schwarz said. "I'm not 100 percent sure, but I think it was him." Schwarz said he stayed at the desk, spoke to a patrol sergeant and then, "I left the [station house] and went out to the [patrol] car."

The 34-year-old former cop said he was following a guideline that cops must pat down the seat of patrol cars for "contraband" after a civilian rides in it.

Schwarz also recounted how he and Wiese helped arrest Louima outside a Flatbush nightclub, where cops mistakenly thought the Haitian immigrant struck Volpe.

But Schwarz, who wore an angel pin on his brown lapel and spoke as several of his relatives watched in the courtroom, insisted he didn't find out about the attack until Internal Affairs Bureau investigators swarmed the station house two days later.

Two government witnesses said they saw Schwarz walk Louima toward the bathroom.

But under questioning by his lawyer, Ronald Fischetti, Schwarz insisted, "I was never in that bathroom," and said he never walked toward the back of the station house the entire time.

Schwarz, Wiese and Officer Thomas Bruder are charged with conspiring to cover up Schwarz's role in the attack.

Schwarz didn't testify at the first trial.

Last week, Volpe, who pleaded guilty to the attack, testified Schwarz was never there, saying Wiese was there but didn't take part in the attack.

Wiese has said he walked in after the attack, and didn't realize what had happened.

Schwarz grew emotional as he described working the night shirt so he could help take care of his paralyzed brother.

He also said he was crushed when he was arrested Aug. 15, 1997.

"I was devastated that myself, a United States Marine, a married man, a cop of eight years, was now being charged with this horrible crime," he said.